Khoo Kongsi is one of the most imposing clan temples in Penang, Malaysia. Initially, the structure was considered a clan-house for ember of the famous Khoo family. The walls, roof and pillars are opulently adorned with complex carvings featuring the marks of skilled craftsmen from China. Besides, the beams were made from wood of extremely fine quality. The temple was restored in 1902, after being devastated by a terrible fire. Legend has it that this clan temple rivaled the one belonging to the Emperor of China, and that this extravagance infuriated the Gods, who decided to burn it down. Every July, the temple hosts various Chinese opera performances that attract a plethora of visitors who are looking forward to finding some interesting things to do in Malaysia.
The structure is also one of the most important historic attractions of Penang, since it has preserved its genuine historic setting that comprises an association building, a time-honored theatre, as well as the late 19th century rowhouses used by clan members. The temple is situated in Cannon Square, right in the centre of the oldest part of Georgetown, which is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Malaysia. It is surrounded by narrow, winding paths, as well as by quaint-looking pre-War residences that disperse a lovely old-world charm.
Khoo Kongsi - History
Leon San Tong Khoo Kongsi, also known as Khoo Kongsi, is a special and very wealthy Chinese clan association that existed in Malaysia. It is famous all over the world for its broad lineage which can be traced back 650 years and for its protective congregation of structures and wonderful clan-houses. Khoo Kongsi, along with Cheah, Lim, Tan and Yeoh Kongsi, were referred to as the Five Big Clans (Goh Tai Seh) that represented the backbone of the Hokkien community in the past. It’s no surprise that most tourists who are wondering where to go in Malaysia end up visiting the temple of this clan.
During mid-19th century, the kongsi embedded themselves in the region spreading from Chulia Street Ghaut in Georgetown to the inferior part of Beach Street in the south. The clan-houses served as the nuclei and the kongsis differentiated their territories through terrace houses that were positioned on three or four sides of the perimeters. The adjoining, closely-knit and protective settlement resembled the clan villages that were found in colonial cities and was an uncommon type of congregation used by migrant communities. What to do in Malaysia shouldn’t be a very difficult question, especially when you get the chance to visit such an important temple.
Khoo Kongsi was built by the Leong San Ton clan to display the success and richness of the Khoo family. The majority of the kongsis in Penang are over 100 years old and Khoo Kongsi was once considered one of the most important Chinese families in Malaysia; hence, visiting its clan house is probably one of the most appealing things to do in Penang.
Khoo Kongsi - Design
Since the Khoo family was very rich, they brought craftsmen from China to put up this architectural masterpiece. Also referred to as Dragon Mountain Hall, the temple features a complex design and stands on a square of granite. Plus, the entrance hall is decorated with various stone carvings.
Those who visit the structure will have the possibility to admire murals depicting weddings and birthdays, pavilions, as well as 36 marvelous guardian-statues scattered throughout its interior. What’s more, huge overhead paper lamps immerse the interior in a lovely orange glow, whereas astonishing sculptures of dragons, carp fish and immortals outline the roof ridges. After visiting the Khoo Kongsi, you will definitely be thankful for asking yourself what to do in Penang.
Khoo Kongsi is positioned in the city of George Town, Penang, in the heart of Cannon Square. Travelers can visit the temple from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, and the admission fee is RM 10; kids under 12 years old can enter the temple free of charge.